If this is your first time planning a wedding, you’re probably learning a lot of words that you didn’t already know. In fact, you might find yourself paying for wedding-related items before you truly know what they are used for. Lots of people only plan one wedding in their lifetime, so it’s okay not to know the lingo.

If you don’t know the difference between a place card and an escort card, that’s okay, too. Keep reading, and you’ll be able to surprise your partner with how much you know about reception seating options and the accompanying terms!

Place cards and escort cards are two different ways to direct guests to where they are supposed to sit. They seem similar, but fulfill two distinct tasks.

PLACE CARDS

If you’re having a pre-plated meal where there is more than one entrée option, you will likely need place cards at your reception.

These cards will have the guest’s full name printed on it, as well as their designated entrée choice. Place cards will likely already be on the table, at the exact seat where the guest is supposed to sit.

Accompanying the place cards, you will also have a seating chart where guests can find out which table to look for their place card.

ESCORT CARDS

If you’ve chosen another style of serving dinner, you have a bit more wiggle room with how you seat guests.

Escort cards are a more relaxed version of the place card, and are printed with the guest’s name and table number. This type of card ‘escorts’ the guest to their designated table, but does not tell them exactly which seat is theirs.

Using escort cards will save you the trouble of having to plan out the exact seating arrangement of each guest, but may make the process of finding a seat more difficult for guests. Just consider which seems fitting for your dinner style and wishes for the flow of the reception.

DO YOU NEED THEM?

You don’t really need to use either place cards or escort cards. If you’d prefer to print a seating chart and not send guests to their tables with a personalized card, that’s fine.

If you’re having a more casual wedding, you don’t necessarily need to dictate where guests will sit. You can give them the option of sitting wherever they’d like! However, you will likely need to provide extra seating, as guests will require enough options to find a seating arrangement that works for them.

Now that you know your seating options, you’re ready to tackle the process of planning your reception. Think about what you need, and carefully plan your seating arrangement now, so that your wedding day goes as smoothly as possible.